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My (Double) Life as a Black Swan - By Sarah LaneWall Street Journal - SPEAKEASY blog


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#61 vipa

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 05:16 PM

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Hi Dirac. In this particular case, that is probably the hinge - though dancers, the public and management (of both movie and dance companies) have been sensitized to the issues via Black Swan, and there could be repercussions as to how such issues are dealt with in the future. If the principals on the motion picture side had not made such a big deal about Portman's "training" and virtuosity in this film, the controversy would probably have simmered down by now; but - hoist on their own collective petard - they've opened the door to scrutiny and contractural challenges in the future, and that would seem (to me) to be the take-away from all that has happened.
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Agreed. I think that the people who decided upon the Oscar campaign for Portman were not trying to insult dancers or ballet. I can't imagine that they gave any thought to dancers or ballet as an art form.

#62 GoCoyote!

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:32 AM

......... If the principals on the motion picture side had not made such a big deal about Portman's "training" and virtuosity in this film, the controversy would probably have simmered down by now; but - hoist on their own collective petard - they've opened the door to scrutiny and contractural challenges in the future, and that would seem (to me) to be the take-away from all that has happened.


RE 'contractual challenges'. Rather than bother dealing with 'troublesome' ballet dancers in the future, I can imagine the next 'ballet film' makers deciding to use an entirely CGI/ animated dancer with some current skinny and in-vogue Hollywood starlet's face superimposed on top. But perhaps in the end that would be the best way for Hollywood to go....?

Anyway my main reason for posting was to link this video which perfectly illustrates the deceitful tactics employed, especially regarding the now infamous FX reel.



#63 dirac

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:45 AM

I'd say if there was one thing the 20/20 segment made clear, it's that this is mostly about the Oscar, one way or another.

Hi Dirac. In this particular case, that is probably the hinge....


Yes, indeed. :)

#64 Bonnette

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:54 AM

RE 'contractual challenges'. Rather than bother dealing with 'troublesome' ballet dancers in the future, I can imagine the next 'ballet film' makers deciding to use an entirely CGI/ animated dancer with some current skinny and in-vogue Hollywood starlet's face superimposed on top. But perhaps in the end that would be the best way for Hollywood to go....?

That is an intriguing idea. It wouldn't surprise me, and as you say, in the end it might be more advantageous from a filmmaker's perspective to do it that way. I know next to nothing about CGI - would it have to be based on the physical performance of a real-life dancer? If so, even that might pose problems (though at least some of the more disingenuous elements that have marred Black Swan's promotion might be eliminated in that way). Thank you for providing the clip.

#65 elena

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 04:18 PM

For me ballerinas are graceful inside and out, and have the strength to go on for what they love despite possibly being unnoticed (like say, many incredibly talented dancers that languish in a corps). Does ballet deserve more recognition? Yes. Does Sarah Lane? Sure, but it still comes off like sour grapes which is unbecoming. If she had played her cards differently, who knows what other opportunities she would have had.

Also, I have many non-ballet loving friends who 'get' that Black Swan is a movie about a girl with mental problems that happens to dance ballet, rather than a realistic movie about ballet. They also understand a double was used for the most difficult sections... I just feel it's easy to underestimate the 'general public' but many people aren't that easily fooled. My .02 anyway...

#66 papeetepatrick

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 04:59 PM

Also, I have many non-ballet loving friends who 'get' that Black Swan is a movie about a girl with mental problems that happens to dance ballet, rather than a realistic movie about ballet. They also understand a double was used for the most difficult sections... I just feel it's easy to underestimate the 'general public' but many people aren't that easily fooled. My .02 anyway...


Just to say that that varies. The ones I know didn't know about the double because they didn't even care. I'd say that I agree that 'many people aren't that easily fooled', but that it's not easy to underestimate the 'general public' on many things, as this one--although not fooling even the 'general public' on all things. Most weren't fooled by what was the real reason for making such a big deal about Clinton/Lewinsky, for example, and the political class just went on pontificating anyway. In fact, I was myself temporarily somewhat fooled before I found out that the general public wasn't! Such is the power of hype when used with great ambition and determination.

#67 elena

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 05:31 PM


Also, I have many non-ballet loving friends who 'get' that Black Swan is a movie about a girl with mental problems that happens to dance ballet, rather than a realistic movie about ballet. They also understand a double was used for the most difficult sections... I just feel it's easy to underestimate the 'general public' but many people aren't that easily fooled. My .02 anyway...


Just to say that that varies. The ones I know didn't know about the double because they didn't even care. I'd say that I agree that 'many people aren't that easily fooled', but that it's not easy to underestimate the 'general public' on many things, as this one--although not fooling even the 'general public' on all things. Most weren't fooled by what was the real reason for making such a big deal about Clinton/Lewinsky, for example, and the political class just went on pontificating anyway. In fact, I was myself temporarily somewhat fooled before I found out that the general public wasn't! Such is the power of hype when used with great ambition and determination.



I guess since I have danced ballet and love watching it, I take it for granted that no one would believe someone new to dance could do such things (and the things she did do, she lacked the real grace of a true professional dancer). I would hope they understood she trained hours a day for a year or whatever to be believable (barely, with the aid of effects and camera work) as a dancer for her character, and not that she ended up doing the hard technical parts herself. There will always be some people that believe it but I think (hope?) they are not the majority. I am honestly still baffled this all became a controversy, but I guess that is just me being willfully naive. :unsure:

#68 dirac

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 06:09 PM

Hello, elena, and welcome to the board. Thank you for contributing to the discussion. I tend to think as you do on the matter.

#69 elena

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 08:20 PM

Hello, elena, and welcome to the board. Thank you for contributing to the discussion. I tend to think as you do on the matter.


Thank you for your welcome. :)


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